On and off the field, it's been a brutal season for the Chicago White Sox.
The last few weeks have been particularly tough as players have been substituted, Tim Anderson has been suspended and Keynan Middleton has spoken out about a lack of leadership in the clubhouse.
Then on Sunday came a report from USA Today's Bob Nightengale that the Sox were considering “drastic changes” in the front office and/or coaching staff.
Amidst all this, there are still games to play — 37 more, to be precise, after the Sox lost 14-2 to Seattle at Monday's guaranteed rate field. Touki Toussaint (1-6) scored four in the Mariners' first inning with 5 runs.
Seattle (70-55) has won seven straight games while the Sox (49-76) have lost seven of nine games.
Over the next 5½ weeks, coach Pedro Grifol wants to see who can prove they can help next season and beyond.
“We can't go into spring training with questions,” said Grifol. “We need to make sure we know better this offseason when these guys will be fully ready to play in the major leagues.”
Infielder Lenyn Sosa and right fielder Oscar Colas are two players that Grifol and general manager Rick Hahn will be watching closely.
Sosa, 23, started a 3-run home run Sunday in Colorado, setting an exclamation point for a 7-run in the eighth inning. The Sox won 10-5.
Signed as an international free agent in 2016, Sosa had 16 HRs with 58 RBIs in 85 combined AA and AAA games. He was recalled from Charlotte on Friday.
“So far I've liked what I've seen,” said Grifol. “His swing is shorter, he puts the ball in play, he's focused on just playing the game to win – we told him that when we sent him down. …
“He came back with a different focus.”
Sosa is 12 of 81 (.148) with 3 doubles, 2 homers and 19 strikeouts with the Sox.
Colas, 24, has done well for most of the season, barely keeping his average above .200 and base percentage above .250. Lately, however, there have been promising signs as Colas is 11-45 (.244) in his last 13 games with two home runs and 5 RBIs.
Anderson should be back in the lineup on Wednesday when he returns from a five-game suspension, but Sosa will get plenty of playing time on the track – potentially at the expense of 34-year veteran Elvis Andrus.
Other vets expect to take up more seating as well when rosters expand in September. The Sox have eight active rookies on the active roster, fourth most in the American League.
“These guys have been around long enough to know they were this (young) guy once,” Grifol said. “Hopefully they understand that. I think they will when the time comes. …
“We'll see how those talks go when the time comes.”
Seattle's Luis Castillo (10-7) allowed 5 hits (including 3 doubles) in 7 innings and netted nine. The last 47 throws Castillo threw were all fastballs, which seriously upset Grifol.
“We did nothing,” said Grifol. “We have not adapted.”
Castillo's average fastball speed was 96.4 mph and peaked at 98.5 mph.
“This sinker is like a changeup and a turbo sinker at the same time,” said SS Elvis Andrus, who opened the game with a double. “We knew how tough he is. Very uncomfortable.”
“It works very well, gets you out there (and) the angle it throws is very difficult to learn.”
Cal Raleigh (23, 24) hit two homers and had six runs for Seattle. Teoscar Hernandez (19) also hit a home run and three RBIs.